Games Created with Unreal Engine
The Unreal Engine 5 game engine is now available to everyone, and that’s great. Any enthusiast can start a hands-on mastering of the tool used by major game studios.
We’ve rounded up a few high-profile titles and series to pay tribute to earlier versions of Unreal Engine and your favorite games that were created with them.
PlayerUnknown is the nickname of Brendan Green, the author and lead game designer of PUBG. The game literally exploded the charts, splashing out millions of copies in early access. What began as an Arma mod ended with a victory march of the battle royale genre. And the engine at the heart of it all is Unreal Engine 4.
“We chose Unreal Engine 4 because you can start using it for free, and having a fully open source engine is a huge advantage for developers,” says Chang Han Kim, vice president of Bluehole and executive producer of PUBG.
Recalling the most useful functionality, he notes: “One of the biggest pluses of UE4 is the fast iterations as we go along. For example, we worked remotely with engineers and artists from all over the world on the 8km x 8km map. The fast iterations with UE4 really helped with that.
Art Director Tae-Seok Jang also praised UE4 for its visual benefits:
“We stuck to realism for maximum engagement and full immersion in the game. We used Atmospheric Fog and Exponential Height Fog, which really helped give realistic lighting and atmosphere. We were able to quickly and efficiently create ambient lighting, change values, and immediately check the results in the editor.”
Bioshock is a series that has been a resounding success since its first installment. This is largely due to the atmospheric setting, inspired by literary masterpieces. The creators of the game noted that the success of the first part was a sign of the great potential of the shooter audience and readiness for deep stories.
Unreal Engine 2.5 served as the basis for the first two parts and helped the developers focus more efforts on the story. Irrational Games chose Unreal based on their previous experience with it but customized the engine to suit their vision. The result is their own creation based on UE 2.5, the Vengeance Engine.
“In the case of Bioshock, using the existing engine allowed us to start prototyping the visuals and gameplay without waiting for us to set up basic rendering, editing, and stuff,” says Jonathan Chey, co-founder of Irrational Games and development director.
After the success of the first part, the company decided not to deviate from proven solutions in Bioshock 2. “Our previous experience with Unreal Engine meant that a lot of the talented people on our team already knew it and understood what specific actions were needed to push the technology even further,” shares Alan Goody, systems developer.
For Bioshock Infinite the developers switched to UE3. Though they have customized it almost completely, now we have a truly unique masterpiece.
This space saga was conceived as an experiential experience, close to a sci-fi movie. So that the player could feel like an actor and director at the same time. Such an idea was accompanied by cinematic visual effects and Bioware’s signature dialogues.
“The Unreal Engine combined with additional BioWare technologies allowed us to offer players a realistic picture, digital actors with unprecedented emotionality, and a special, cinematic approach to storytelling,” commented Ray Music, co-founder of BioWare, on the first part.
Mass Effect won over 90 awards in 2007, including the New York Times Game of the Year, and was the first installment in a trilogy made on UE3.
“For Mass Effect 2, we took content creation a step further – closer to how it should be with Unreal. In the case of Mass Effect, we built a lot by hand on an intermediate level, but with Mass Effect 2 we took the Epic approach – we created a lot of elements and put them together at the end,” says executive producer Casey Hudson.
In the development of the second part, a wide range of UE functionality was used: Matinee, Kismet, and Unreal Developer Network. In the third part, the company traditionally continued to use UE3, commenting on its main goal – “to create an exciting third-person shooter in a sci-fi setting.
Borderlands may be inferior in terms of awards to its neighbors on this list, but it cannot take away the “people’s love” from it. This cooperative shooter is particularly appealing to fans of shooting with friends, which allowed it to grow into a successful franchise, including a trilogy, a pre-sequel, VR and Nintendo Switch versions, and a spin-off from Telltale.
Our studio has been using Unreal technology for about eight years now,” Steve Jones, CTO of Borderlands 2, said back in 2012. “So we have the particular benefit of a growing collective knowledge of Unreal Engine and an understanding of how best to use its features and updates to achieve our development goals.”
Regarding functionality, Jones says the following: “Unreal Engine’s material system has allowed our artists to make the materials used on weapons richer and more expressive.”
“Unreal Matinee was particularly valuable not only for in-game cinematics but also for pre-visualization. We used Matinee to quickly test concepts in an in-game environment and evaluate ideas with minimal development effort,” Jones also notes.
Developers of Borderlands 2, among others, evaluated Kismet and Unreal Developer Network. And Borderlands 3, released in 2019, was already developed on Unreal Engine 4.
Senua’s Sacrifice is the high-profile release of 2017, with a sequel announced in late 2019. The game is developed by Ninja Theory, and the engine used is UE4.
Hellblade is called the biggest indie project, as the developer himself acted as the publisher. Such independence guaranteed the freedom of creativity. As a result, the story and atmosphere of the game were appreciated. The game has won about 25 wins among many nominations for prestigious awards and even received a BAFTA in 2018.
For a team of 20 people, these are impressive results. Here’s how creative director Tamim Antoniades talks about the engine’s help in development:
“Unreal Engine 4 allowed our artists and designers to create their own Blueprints systems with minimal code intervention. In most areas, we had only one specialist each, i.e. one environment designer, one sound designer, one battle designer, and so on. UE4 allowed us to compete with the big players.
“A key feature of UE4 that we keep coming back to is that with it, the creative team can focus on creative work,” notes commercial director Dominic Matthews. “We didn’t need a huge programming staff to support it.”
UE5 Games Announced
Although the UE5 has just been released and the companies are still migrating to this new version, we already have the list of games that announced their release with the UE5 engine. They include S.T.A.L.K.E.R. 2 by GSC Game World, multiplayer survival simulator ARK 2, horror-shooter Quantum Terror, action-RPG Black Myth: Wukong, and Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 by Ninja Theory.
The list of games made on the Unreal Engine is not only impressive already, but it’s growing all the time. The technology is improving, and Epic Games is keeping an eye out for current developments that will make future creations even more impressive.